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Still in the game!

Sagicor confident about 2021 Sigma Run targets despite COVID-19

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Observer staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, January 21, 2021

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CEO of the Sagicor Group Christopher Zacca is confident that, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, he and his team will exceed the “steep” target of $50 million they have set their sights on raising from the company's Sigma Corporate Run.

“It is not business as usual. The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed the game on us,” he stressed during the latest Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

In deference to protocols put in place to help curb the spread of the disease, much of this year's event will be virtual. However, Zacca does not think this will hamper efforts to meet their goal of raising funds for the society's most needy.

“[It] is a steep target given that we won't have a physical run. But we know that we are going to beat that target. We feel the support already from the Jamaican community, and from the diaspora,” he said.

He added that moving the event online had actually helped their efforts. “It being virtual does give us some advantage in that we can reach out beyond the boundaries of Jamaica and we are seeing some positive signs around that,” Zacca noted.

“We are really looking forward to a new paradigm in Sagicor Sigma Corporate Run. We are excited and we are getting a tremendous amount of support from the communities we serve,” he added.

This year's Sigma Run will also feature a special invitational dash for selected participants across top performing companies over the past three years of the event's staging. Participants registered for the virtual run will get a special virtual certificate of participation when they run their own race and submit their times.

In addition to providing financial support to this year's beneficiaries — Port Antonio and Annotto Bay hospitals in eastern Jamaica— there has also been the launch of a special remedial programme for children who have been set back in their schooling during the pandemic.

Alysia White, executive director of the Sagicor Foundation, said the remedial programme, which has been dubbed the Get Back on Track initiative, had been a major pull for donors who were eagerly anticipating this year's event.

“We had to do [the run virtually] in order to abide by the safety regulations and the protocols that have been put in place by the Ministry of Health and the Government of Jamaica. We are 100 per cent in compliance with that and they have allowed us to have an invitational race,”she said. “But we had to continue. I've had so many calls within the last two months about whether or not we are going to do Sigma Run this year. As we've said many times, Jamaica is a country that needs a lot of help, and we need to galvanise the support of our corporate entities and private sector to make sure that we give towards the health and education sectors, and primarily our children.”

There had also been offers of support, she added, from Sagicor's sister companies in other parts of the world eager for details on when and where they can run.

“We are really excited about this. Our target is very steep but one way or the other, we will make it; I'm sure,” said White.

Registration for the run closes on February 12.


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